The Spanish ceramic tile industry continues its recovery
The Spanish ceramic tile industry has completed another year of growth, once again confirming the sector’s strong bill of health. According to figures announced by Ascer’s chairman Isidro Zarzoso during the last Cevisama, the industry closed 2016 with improvements in all its key indicators. Total output is estimated to have reached 492 million m2, 11.8% up on the 440 million m2 of 2015. Sales rose by 7.1% to over 3.3 billion euros, 200 million euros more than in 2015 when the industry reported a similar level of growth (up 6.8% on 2014).
This growth was divided equally between exports (+4.8%) and domestic sales (+16%), with the domestic market maintaining the slow but steady recovery that began in 2014. As Zarzoso pointed out, the figure of 746 million euros of domestic sales is still well below 2007 values (around 60% lower). Nonetheless, growth is expected to continue, largely due to private in vestments in renovation driven by the recovery of the Spanish economy and the higher spending power of households and consumers. The strong performance of the sector (the third largest contributor to Spain’s trade surplus) has also buoyed employment and led to the creation of 500 new jobs. R&D in vestments in innovative materials suitable for use in architecture projects are another important factor.
Despite a slight slowdown in the second quarter of 2016, exports to a total of 190 countries accounted for 77.5% of the Spanish tile industry’s total turnover at 2.57 billion euros (4.8% up on the 2,452 million euros of 2015).
Europe continues to be the largest market for Spanish tiles with a 45.8% share of total exports and sales of almost 1.2 billion euros (up 7.7% on 2015). The growth in EU markets (990.7million euros, +10.3%) offset the further contraction in Eastern Europe (down 7% to 151 million euros, a smaller fall than in 2015). France was the top export market with further 9.9% growth in sales. Growth continued, albeit more slowly, in the UK (third largest export market) at +5.1%, while the growth rate picked up in Germany (+8.7%). Growth in exports to Italy continued (+12.4%). As for overseas markets, the sharp expansion in exports to the American continent continued in 2016 (383.5 million euros, +22.6%),with growth especially strong in both North America (+30.4%) and Central America (+24.7%). In particular, sales in the United States grew by 28% to 188 million euros, making it the second largest market for Spanish tiles. Spain exported around 17 million m2 of tiles to the USA (source: Tile Council of North America), an increase of 34.6% over 2015 at an average selling price of around 11 euros/m2.
Although the Middle East has long been one of the Spanish tile industry’s most important markets with a 20.5% share of total exports, the region saw a 1.1% contraction last year with respect to 2015. This was largely due to the sharp down turn in Saudi Arabia (-14.8%), which dropped from second to fourth place in the export market rankings. By contrast, sales performed strongly in Israel (+4.6%) and Lebanon (+16.8%). Exports to Africa continued to fall in 2016 (-9%), with the majority of sales concentrated in the Maghreb region where the overall contraction was 7.1%. As in 2015, the two largest markets in the region displayed contrasting performances: in Algeria exports fell by 5.2% whereas in Morocco they grew by13.3%. Overall, sales in the top 10 export markets totalled 1,317 million euros, 51% of the sector’s total turnover.